Not just American life in poetry

Poetry doesn't have to be easy to understand but if it is, then more people are likely to read it, aren't they? Or perhaps it's just that the 'easy' poems help people feel less daunted by those poems that take a little more concentration, a little more willingness to let words merge and overlap each other like layers of paint and see how it all dries. Former US poet laureate Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry project helps make accessible poetry more accessible. Every week, Kooser posts a poem and brief introduction online that publications can print for free. Individuals can sign up free of charge too. It's like having a rectangle of sky delivered to your email in-box once a week.

Whitehorse Poetry Festival set for June 2013

Volunteers here in Whitehorse are gearing up for the biennial poetry festival in June 2013. As usual, we're anticipating a glittering line-up, including some international poetry stars. You can keep up to date at If you're interested in volunteering, let me know. Whitehorse is in Canada's Yukon, north of the 60th parallel, so coming to the festival is a chance to experience magically long hours of daylight. You could stand outside at midnight during the festival and still be able to read a book of poetry (or any other book of course).

Chapbook of animal poems

I'm thinking of producing a chapbook of animal poems as a fundraiser for animal welfare organisations. There seems to be a logic to this idea. One: I keep writing poems about animals and probably always will. Two: I don't seem to be able to stop writing poems long enough to do something useful to help animals. I'm probably going to call it The Abattoir Worker's Wife and will include poems that look at human relationships with animals: the meat industry, vivisection, hunting, for example. Perhaps not the lightest of reads then. The Poetry Archive, by the way, has some lovely poems about animals in the children's archive.